[Marxism] The Hollywoodization of the Heartland » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 10 09:43:43 MST 2013

With the annual awards meeting of New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) 
on Sunday, December 8th, I feel like I am cramming for a final exam made 
all the more daunting by my failure to have done any homework the entire 
year. In my case, the homework was the Hollywood movies that my 
colleagues cover methodically while I am off tracking down obscure 
neorealist fiction films from the global semi-periphery or snarling 
Marxist documentaries. My job is made easier by the buckets of screeners 
the studios begin sending me as a member of NYFCO in mid-November, most 
of which I hurl into the garbage can after 15 minutes or so. This year 
the discards include “Bling Ring” and “Spring Breakers”, which now that 
I think about it might have come in under the five-minute mark. In fact 
I might have hit “eject” on “Spring Breakers” during the opening credits.

Perhaps as a function of the grim economic reality, the studios have put 
their muscle behind two films that depart from the sort of vacuous 
escapism that most moviegoers dote on. They are “Out of the Furnace” 
that opens this week at better movie theaters everywhere and “Nebraska” 
that has been around for a few weeks. While the reviews for “Out of the 
Furnace” have been mixed (64 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, where 
my reviews appear), “Nebraska” is right up there with other Oscar 
contenders, registering a 91 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics generally view the two films as being cut from the same cloth as 
John Steinbeck or Woody Guthrie. A.O. Scott of the N.Y. Times describes 
“Nebraska” as depicting “a small-town America that is fading, aging and 
on the verge of giving up…blighted by envy, suspicion and a general 
failure of good will. Hard times are part of the picture, and so are 
hard people.”


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